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11 Water Games and Summer Activities for Kids

  • Veer

    Jump water 
    Run a strong stream from a garden hose back and forth like a snake under your child's feet, allowing him to jump over it. With more kids, turn it into a competition: Whoever's feet don't get drenched wins!

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    Liquid limbo 
    Use the stream from a water hose as the stick for a high-stakes game of limbo.

  • Backyard bath 
    Take advantage of a warm summer evening by bathing your baby (and older siblings if they're game!) outdoors. Fill a kiddie pool with water, bath toys, and bubbles and turn a chore into a delight.

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    Ball blast 
    Use ropes to create a circle or square on your lawn. Place balls of varying sizes and weights inside. Give your child a hose and challenge her to push the balls out with the water in less than a minute.

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    Balloon babies 
    Fill up a water balloon and draw a face on it with a dark marker. Wrap it in a paper towel, then hand your kid (4 and up) his new "baby." See how long he can take care of it before it breaks.

  • This toy zips across the floor under rubber band power -- and its wheels are made from pint container lids, giving you a great excuse to buy ice cream! Idea from FamilyFun magazine.

  • Water-gun tag 
    This clever twist on a classic is pretty self-explanatory: Have everyone don bathing suits and play tag. Whoever is "It" gets the water gun and tries to tag the other players with a cold squirt!

  • Getty

    Freeze! 
    Place plastic bugs, toy cars or other small treasures in your cube tray, add water and freeze. Then hand a piece of ice to your child (age 3 and up) and have her melt it in her hands until the prize emerges.

  • Sponge-worthy 
    Give each of your kids two buckets—one filled with water and one empty—and a sponge. Instruct them to transfer the water from one bucket to the other using only the sponge. Whoever does it the fastest gets first choice of ice-pops. Solo kids can also play by racing against the clock.

  • iStockphoto

    Pool ping-pong
    Float an inner tube in the center of the pool, then toss a bunch of ping-pong balls in the water. Kids who know how to swim unassisted can jump in, retrieve the balls, and try to toss them in the tube.

  • Spray of light
    Little tykes can help you garden by watering plants with a spray bottle; give bigger guys the whole hose (and expect them to get wet!). If it's a sunny day, show them how they can spot a rainbow in the mist.

  • iStockphoto

    Drink up
    Encourage your child to try water flavored with different ingredients. Include slices of cucumber, lemon, lime, orange and various berries (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry)—and see which one she likes best.

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